Australians Ethan and Priscilla were in Washington D.C. as part of their cross-country trip when they chose to go to dinner in Chinatown one fateful day in October of 2011.
As they emerged from the Metro, they were taken aback at the sea of red surrounding them.
“Gee, they love this Ovechkin bloke here.” Ethan recalled.
It took five minutes of research to find out there was a hockey game taking place, and they bought tickets to their very first Capitals game.
“Every year since then, we’ve been back.”
Though the tourists missed the games they had scheduled to go to in 2012 due to the lockout, they were able to indulge in another D.C. sport when they attended a Redskins game. “They were the days RGIII was a big thing here in D.C., that was fun,” Ethan remarked.
Once the couple knew their trip to the nation’s capital would become an annual tradition, they decided to look at themselves as a part of the D.C. community, instead of tourists. And they’ve been welcomed with open arms.
They enrolled in a site called HomeExchange, where they met Phyllis and Tom from DuPont Circle. They have since become friends and stay in their apartment complex when they visit each year.
“They couldn’t believe the Caps obsession, but I have managed to get Phyllis on board, and she watches all the games,” Ethan said.
The “Traveling Aussies” were not in D.C. when the Capitals won the Stanley Cup, but Ethan was sure to watch each game, even though most took place in the middle of the workday in Australia.
“Playoff hockey in Australia is in the middle of the day so I had to take some time off work,” Ethan laughed, “so there were a few sick days that nobody knew about why.”
While they may have missed seeing the Cup run in person, they were sure to be in the District for the first game of the 2018-19 season, with their nine-month-old daughter, Ava, in tow.
“Banner night for us was just the most magical experience,” Ethan said.
Priscilla has stood by Ethan’s side through his growing passion for hockey.
“If you know him, you know he loves his sport,” Priscilla said, “everybody understands the obsession.”
For this year’s trip, Ethan and Priscilla couldn’t have picked a better time to be in D.C. Not only did they see four Capitals wins complete with a Jakub Vrana hat trick, but they bore witness to the Nationals’ World Series run. They attended watch parties at Nationals Park, cheered as the Nationals partied at Capital One Arena, and were even in town for the parade.
“I look back… a casual trip to Chinatown for dinner turned into the joys of Stanley Cup, the joys of banner night, and the joys of coming back and getting to see the sport I love,” Ethan said.
“Nine months of my year are filled with joy… for the most part.”
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